One of my favorite things to do when I am traveling is hiking. I seriously cannot get enough of it. It is relaxing yet strenuous and I love how it really helps you to get to know the terrain and natural state of a place.
Blue Mountains, Australia
There are a few hikes that stand out in my mind as being favorites. One of these was a weekend long hiking trip that I went on because of a class I was taking while studying abroad. On the trip, we went to the Blue Mountains in Australia. There are so many different elements to the hiking in this area. Not only is it beautiful in terms of landscape and flora, there are also gentle waterfalls, challenging staircases, caves, forest, cliffs, and gorges, to name a few of the elements. This is one of those hikes that really makes you feel so small in comparison to the vast landscape, especially when looking out from one part of the mountain onto the rest of the area. Why is it called the Blue Mountains? Because on a clear day, a blue haze forms around the mountains due to the oil from the myriad eucalyptus trees in the region.
Cinque Terre, Italy
Another great hike that I did was in Cinque Terre, Italy. This literally means five towns, and the hike is just that…a hike through five quaint towns. Well, we made stop-offs in the towns, but the hike is done more along the edge of the towns, so you are going through forest while seeing gorgeous beach landscapes and getting a panoramic view of the region. With this hike, what has been stamped onto my memory is the colors of the towns, yellows, corals, reds, greens, and browns, combined with the sparkling, crisp blue of the Italian Riviera. The shape of the landscape, with parts of the towns being flat land and other pieces being raised, parts of the towns being curved into inlets and other parts looking jagged against the water, is also a sight that will not be forgotten.
Long Ji Rice Terraces, China
If you are from the west like I am, this is something unlike any other you have ever seen. I hiked through the Long Ji Rice Terraces in order to get from one town to another. The terraces actually look fake they are so perfectly and beautifully sculpted into the Earth. As you look at the beautiful tiers that remind me of a perfectly polished Dr. Seuss portrait, you are also reminded of the tremendous amount of labor these people put into cultivating the land. It is truly both majestic and inspirational.
When hiking in the Swiss Alps, you are guaranteed an amazing hike. The landscape is breathtaking and as you literally walk into the clouds. Coming home from this trip and showing my friends and family pictures I had taken while hiking this area, I was upset that what I captured was not half as unbelievable as what I had actually seen. Even in the tourist town of Interlaken, I was enchanted by the lush forests and the feeling of being up in the clouds. What I loved even more, however, was visiting the tiny town of Gimmelwald, where there are no stores and if you want eggs, milk, or cheese you actually visit a woman down the street who will go into her backyard and fetch them for you. Walking through the town itself is quite amazing because it is literally on a mountain, meaning you can walk a few feet and look over the edge. Moreover, the town itself was unlike any I had ever seen before, the quietest and smallest town I had ever experienced, but also one of the most beautiful. Keep walking and you will hit lots of adventurous, challenging trails, as well as lots of animals like sheep, goats, and cows.
Home Sweet Home- New Jersey and New York
I have recently begun to realize that while I am extremely active and exploratory while I am traveling, this need to discover my surroundings kind of dies down once I return home to New York. For this reason, I have recently joined a hiking group on Long Island and have gotten to try some really great hikes. First of all, I would highly recommend visiting Stokes National Park in New Jersey. It has tons of different trails of varying difficulty levels. And, you can even hike part of the Appalachian Trail while you are there and cross that off your bucket list!
Another great hike I got to experience was in the quaint old town of Cold Spring Harbor, NY. Across from the trails is the water with lots of boats docked around. We were able to get some great shots of the sunset because we began the hike at 6pm. This hike was basically all forest but very peaceful with some fun climbing over rocks and logs involved.